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Barbara Jeane Fields Slavery, Race and Ideology

In: Historical Events

Submitted By dwayneaziz1993
Words 13261
Pages 54
Barbara Jeanne Fields

Slavery, Race and Ideology in the
United States of America

Two years ago, a sports announcer in the United States lost his job because he enlarged indiscreetly—that is, before a television audience—upon his views about ‘racial’ differences. Asked why there are so few black coaches in basketball, Jimmy ‘the Greek’ Snyder remarked that black athletes already hold an advantage as basketball players because they have longer thighs than white athletes, their ancestors having been deliberately bred that way during slavery. ‘This goes all the way to the Civil War,’ Jimmy the Greek explained,
‘when during the slave trading . . . the owner, the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so he could have a big black kid, you see.’
Astonishing though it may seem, Snyder intended his remark as a compliment to black athletes. If black men became coaches, he said, there would be nothing left for white men to do in basketball at all. Embarrassed by such rank and open expression of racism in the most ignorant form, the network fired Jimmy the Greek from his job. Any fool, the network must have decided, should know that such things may be spoken in the privacy of the
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locker-room in an all-white club, but not into a microphone and before a camera. Of course, Jimmy the Greek lays no claim to being educated or well informed. Before he was hired to keep audiences entertained during the slack moments of televised sports events, he was famous as a bookie. He claims expert knowledge about odds and point spreads, not about history, biology or human genetics. But those claiming to be educated—and employed on that basis—have proved to be just as superstitious as Jimmy the Greek.
Belief in the biological reality of race outranks even astrology, the superstition closest to it in the competition for dupes among the
ostensibly...

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